Why We Love the Wonders of Nature
As far as we remember, nature has always had an attraction for us. We have always had a deep love for it. Natural phenomena, seasons, landscapes, and land or aquatic animals fascinate us. When we are working in nature, we forget our worries. But what overwhelm us in nature, more than natural phenomena or the physical laws that govern them, are its beauties.
The definition of 'nature'
The word 'nature' is used to mean many different things. Its etymology is very interesting, because its root comes from the Latin word natura, which means 'birth’ or 'character' as well as 'nature'. However, because much of nature does not have the same 'character' now as it did in its beginning, this sense of the word can be restrictive.
That's why we use a slightly broader definition: "Nature is a set of events and situations that may have changed, but not as the result of human activities."
Before going into the field to take pictures, we always remember that definition. It helps us approach our work in a way which is consistent with our original vision.
Become aware of the smallness of our actions
When we work on a project in nature, especially in the vast expanses of deserts or the ocean, we always become aware of our smallness. When we walk around in a city or when we sit in our house, using our computers, phones and cars, we feel like an important part of human society.
At that level, we can change our immediate environment. We feel we are actuating levers that influence and change the world. We have the impression of being indispensable for the functioning of the world. We have learned that these feelings are only feelings — not a reflection of the truth.
When we are in the middle of nowhere, in nature, and we look at all the phenomena that change it, we become aware of the insignificance of our actions. In light of the raw power of nature, we see that we are very different from what we think we are. What can we do to change the effects of erosion? What can we do in the middle of a hurricane? What are we to the rivers that carve their beds through the canyons?
Every human is a grain of sand
When we are in a desert, with nothing but sand dunes in sight, we quickly understand that we are no more than grains of sand on earth. What can we do to change the movement of the dunes? Can we deal with a sandstorm? It was in places like that where we really became aware of our true size.
When we are well protected inside our house and the rain lashes the windows or the thermometer plunges to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, we believe that we can dominate the natural world. But out of our shell, we are mere grains of sand, identical to those we tread on in the desert.
Our worries are exposed as insignificant in these immensities
Besides the fact that nature makes us aware of our real size and the real impact we have on the world, it often gives us moments of great tranquility, serenity and calm. We can recharge our batteries. We can regenerate and tap into nature for the energy we need to move forward in our artistic quest.
We have always found that when we start taking pictures of a place, an animal, or an underwater scene, our stress quickly disappears. This always happens when we live closer to nature. That is why we usually rent accommodation away from large cities and human agitation. We have also learned that our stress does not go away when we live in a noisy group amid human activities; not even during a photography project.
What is most interesting is that our worries and problems disappear very quickly when we live in nature. For instance, one of our greatest pleasures is photographing big mammals. This requires total immersion in the environment where the animals live. We need to blend into the environment with our blinds or our approach techniques. Then, there is only one thing that counts: becoming a part of the woods or meadows.
We also experience this feeling of fullness when we stand in great sand deserts or in deserted regions like the western United States. In the vastness of the natural scenery, our worries are only vague memories.
Nature is full of beautiful places, both well-known and obscure
Often, when we talk about our business as professional nature photographers, our interlocutors immediately think of well-known landscapes like the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, the Sahara, and the Alps. It is true that these famous, breathtaking landscapes are real wonders of nature.
But more important is that the hidden treasures we find are real gems, from which we derive a great deal of energy. We have many favorite areas that are fairly obscure, such as Charente-Maritime in France, the Chihuahua Desert in New Mexico, and Mesa Verde in Colorado. There are too many for us to list them all.
But, whether well-known or obscure, there are many beautiful places in nature. Photography allows us to show them to others, and to share what we feel when contemplating them.
Photography: a way for us to preserve and share our emotions
Nature photography has become a way of life for us. It is more than a way for us to relieve the stress that comes from being entrepreneurs and running our own business.
Nature photography is primarily a way of life. Nature allows us to put the human condition into perspective. When we contemplate the wonders of nature, we understand exactly where we belong, why we are here, and what we can do.
Nature photography and our love for the wonders of nature have helped us, over the years, to acquire a consciousness of our true status.